ICU Student Wins an Award for Excellence in the International Exchange Category of the "JASSO Students of the Year 2016"

Update:December 16, 2016

ICU student, Ms. Sakie Murai (3rd year student) won the Award for Excellence in the International Exchange Category of the Japan Student Services Organization's "JASSO Students of the Year 2016". An awarding ceremony was held on December 10th (Sat) at a venue in Ichigaya Tokyo and Ms. Murai received an award of merit and study grant of 300 thousand yen. Based on donations from many people, the JASSO Students of the Year Award is granted to students who have demonstrated outstanding performance to encourage and support them and contribute to the development of promising young talents who will lead the 21st century. This year, 92 students applied for the award and 54 were chosen.


Ms. Murai participated in the 66th Japan-America Students Conference (JASC)* held from August 2 to 22, 2014 in four cities in the USA, and the following year, she was selected as a member of the 67th JASC Executive Committee to organize the 2015 conference to be held in Japan. She worked hard to host a conference in Hiroshima, her hometown, to commemorate the 70th year since the end of World War II. As the leader of Hiroshima Conference, she realized the participation of 36 Japanese students and 35 American students in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony held on August 6. She was recognized for the award based on her above commitments.

Comment from Ms. Murai

When I visited the United States on a Japan-US exchange program during my second year in high school, many Americans would ask my opinion on history and peace, as soon as they learn that I was from Hiroshima. This experience made me realize, for the first time in life, what I represent and the responsibilities I assume as a person from Hiroshima. I decided to enter ICU to study the values behind peace and religion, as well as education that forms the foundation for such values. At the same time, I also decided to participate in JASC.

After I participated in the 66th JASC in 2014, I was elected as a member of the 67th JASC Executive Committee to organize the 2015 conference. Since it was the memorable 70th year since the end of WWII, I strongly hoped to hold one of the four conferences in Hiroshima and exerted myself to realize the Hiroshima Conference. In particular, I wanted all conference participants to attend the Peace Memorial Ceremony and spent half a year talking to many stakeholders and trying to secure 71 seats for the JASC participants.

On that day, we not only participated in the ceremony but also spent three intense hours of heated discussion. Hearing comments such as "I've always wanted to visit Hiroshima. I'll never forget that I participated in the Peace Memorial Ceremony" and "The discussion we had for building future peace and deepening mutual understanding had a great impact on my life" from American students, as well as Japanese students, I was so glad that I was able to provide an opportunity for students from Japan and America to think about peace together in Hiroshima. I'd like to use the grant money to visit Pearl Harbor in the United States, another bitter legacy from WWII. I also want to contribute to society through engagement in the reform of education, the field I major in.


* Japan-America Students Conference (JASC)

The first international student exchange program established in Japan. It was initiated in 1934 by university students with an aim to improve the feelings of Americans toward Japan and regain trust between the two countries. Today, an equal number of students from the U.S. and Japan are competitively selected each year to spend one summer month together, studying and analyzing Japan-U.S. relations and other global issues while experiencing various discussions and activities and enhancing mutual understanding among participants from the U.S. and Japan. The outcomes of the conference will be shared with society and serve as input to social contribution in the long run. (See JASC Website)